Working INTERNET LEADS Effectively

Education & Training with Z57

Almost 80% of all Home Buyers start their search on the internet today...Are you making the most of your marketing dollars to close these online leads?  E-mail me today and I'll answer any questions that you may have :



Internet inquiries are very different from traditional offline leads.
Success depends on understanding this difference.

* Internet buyers spend an average of 5.9 weeks considering the purchase of a home before contacting a REALTOR, compared to 2.1 weeks for traditional buyers.

* Internet buyers spend an average of 4.8 weeks investigating homes and neighborhoods prior to contacting a REALTOR

* Having done significantly more research than their traditional buyer counterparts, Internet buyers spend less time looking for a home once they began working with a REALTOR, spending just 1.9 weeks on average, compared to 7.1 weeks for a traditional buyer

* The typical Internet buyer also visited fewer homes with their REALTOR than the typical traditional buyer. Internet buyers visited an average of
6.1 homes with their REALTOR, whereas a typical traditional buyer visited
15.4 homes with their REALTOR.

* Internet buyers tended to be younger than traditional buyers with a mean age of 38.5 years, compared to 43.5 years for traditional buyers.

What does all this mean to you?

What this means is that the Internet home buyer is not the same homebuyer you thought you knew. They take longer to choose a REALTOR, but that's because they are beginning their process much earlier in the game. (It doesn't require much effort to decide one day you want to browse around online and start looking for some homes. It's a bit more of a commitment to set aside an afternoon to go driving around looking for open houses). What's most important is that these people WILL BUY. In fact, once they choose you as their REALTOR, they're actually BETTER buyers. They don't shop your services as much, they usually have more money, and they're better educated (both about buying a home and in general).

Where most REALTORS have difficulty is seeing past the extended initial phase that Internet buyers are so well known for. Instead, they usually are seen literally throwing this business away and writing it off as "bad leads."

Your ability to effectively manage and maintain the Internet buyer during their initial phase of home buying is what will set you apart from your competition and ensure your success with some type of traffic program.

Your initial follow up with an inquiry is a critical stage in the process.
Poor follow up stops everything in its tracks. When it comes to following up with inquiries, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

1. Immediacy is crucial: A unique attribute of the Internet is that information is accessible immediately. Because of this, Internet users have developed into a very impatient, "now" culture. If you do not respond to an inquiry within 12 hours (at the most) of receiving it, your chance of losing their interest increases dramatically. Best practice is closer to a 0-15 minute response time. Because of this, the auto-responder built right into your landing page can be your most powerful tool. Be sure to customize this auto-responder to your specific needs.

2. Ask leading questions: Many Realtors make the mistake of putting a sentence like "If you need any help, don't hesitate to ask." Then they wonder why no one replies to their emails. Be sure to ask questions which provoke an immediate response. Initiate the conversation, rather than waiting for them to decide they're ready to talk to you.

For Example:

* Are you looking for a place with a pool?
* Are you looking for a 1 or 2 story house?
* Do you have children? If so, are you looking to move within a particular school district
* I know the commute traffic here is pretty bad sometimes. Where will you be working?

3. Include a value proposition for your website: Getting someone to come back to your website is important. You increase your brand awareness every time you are able to get yourself in front of them. Be sure to include a reason for them to go back to your website other than the reason why they went there in the first place. Just ask yourself, "What else do people buying a home in my area want to do on my site, other than search for homes?"

Inquiry Incubation

Due to the need to hit short-term sales goals, many agents will focus all of their attention on working "hot leads." Focusing too much on this can cause several problems in your marketing strategy:

* The cost of generating a "hot lead" can easily be more than 10 times greater than the cost of generating any other lead.

* You will experience harsh lows in your sales pipeline, when all the "hot leads" sell. You end up being caught in a vicious cycle of actively searching for the next "hot lead" at a very high cost.

With Internet-based marketing, the key to driving down your cost of acquisition and maximizing the benefits reaped from your advertising dollars is to practice effective inquiry incubation methods. This means to not just focus on the hottest leads, but to also identify the warm and even cold inquiries and nurture them over time into hot inquiries. You must implement an effective inquiry incubation cycle, with regularly scheduled "marketing touches" that are aimed at building credibility and brand awareness, and also presenting strong value propositions. By doing this, you create a much more balanced approach to long-term and short-term lead generation.

Comments (4)

Roger Stensland
Keller Williams Realty Puget Sound - Maple Valley, WA
Let's Move!
I heard that the average internet buyer starts  looking for a home on the internet about 8 months prior to deciding to contact a real estate agent.  That part doesn't really concern me.  I really liked the questions that you asked.  Until now, I have been asking the questions that didn't require a response.  I'm going to start using similar questions to yours as of today.  I am curious how different the results will be.
Mar 23, 2007 06:12 AM
Renée Donohue~Home Photography
Savvy Home Pix - Allegan, MI
Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer

What an EXCELLENT POST!  I did flag it to be featured ;)

You can spend so much time generating your internet leads but if you don't have a means to capture a lead and allow them to only *just* give their email address and the systems that follow ~ You have lost out!  I just explained this to someone last night.  Internet leads take a TON of time and energy to coddle like a baby but when they are ready, oh boy they are ready and easy!

Mar 23, 2007 07:53 AM
Tracy Santrock
Fonville Morisey/Santrock Realty Group, Inc. - Cary, NC
Raleigh - Cary Realtor/Broker In Charge
I agree that internet buyers are more sophisticated and certainly more challenging than "traditional buyers".  Qualifying these clients is also important-making sure you understand their motivation.  Are they really planning on buying?  Otherwise they can waist your time.
Aug 18, 2007 02:26 AM
Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

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